Afrobarometer: 62% South Africans Worried About Democracy On Election Day
27 May 2024
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Afrobarometer Survey Reveals Top Concerns of South Africans Ahead of Elections

May 26, 2024 – Johannesburg | By A Correspondent | ZimEye | In the final weeks leading up to South Africa’s pivotal elections, a new Afrobarometer pre-election telephone survey has revealed the most pressing issues that citizens want the incoming government to tackle. The survey highlights unemployment, unreliable electricity supply, and corruption as the foremost concerns among South Africans.

Conducted by the Afrobarometer team, led by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR), the survey interviewed 1,800 adult South Africans between April 23 and May 11. This survey, drawing from a database of over 14 million cell phone numbers, represents Afrobarometer’s first publicly released telephone survey and has a margin of error of +/-2.3 percentage points.

**Key Findings:**

– **Unemployment**: Dominating the list of urgent problems, unemployment stands as the most critical issue for South Africans, demanding immediate government intervention.

– **Electricity and Corruption**: Close behind, unreliable electricity supply, commonly known as load shedding (26%), and corruption (21%) are also major concerns.

– **Economic Issues**: Additional economic challenges such as inflation (21%), poverty (21%), and overall management of the economy (20%) are significant priorities for the electorate.

As South Africans gear up to vote, the survey reveals widespread dissatisfaction with the current state of democracy and the country’s direction:

– **Dissatisfaction with Democracy**: More than 60% (62%) of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with how democracy is functioning in South Africa, contrasting with only 36% who are satisfied.

– **Country’s Direction**: A striking 85% of South Africans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction, a substantial increase from 46% in 2011.

– **Undecided Voters**: Among those registered and likely to vote, about one third (32%) have not yet decided which party to support.

Despite these concerns, there is a general optimism about the upcoming election:

– **Election Fairness**: The vast majority (68%) anticipate that the 2024 election will be free and fair, although 11% believe it will not be.

This survey provides a critical snapshot of the public sentiment and issues at stake as South Africa prepares for a significant electoral event. It underscores the urgent need for the next government to address these pressing concerns to restore public confidence and steer the country toward a more stable and prosperous future.